Missouri Valley is one of the few NAIA schools that offer a sport that not many men actually participate in: Men’s volleyball.
The Moval men’s volleyball team has grown a lot over the past few years. They have turned their program completely around and are competing at a top-notch level. They are part of a conference that is one of the two leading conferences in that nation, the Mid-America Men’s Volleyball Intercollegiate Conference.
Having no seniors last year, the men’s team has a lot to offer coming into this year’s season.
To start off, every year the men are heavily working. With their first game not being until the end of January, they started pre-season in early September and have had 6 a.m. practices three times a week and open gyms two times. The men are starting to feel more in shape and ready for this year’s season ahead. Sophomore Will McCraken said, “The work outs went very well. They were a great way for the team to get to know each other, know how one another plays, their weaknesses and strengths, and just a way that we can bond before season even begins.”
With the men’s team playing in a top-level conference, the competition is tough. Having lost the first game in the tournament each year, the men know that this year has to change. In many of their minds, they know that they have to strive and want this more than they have ever wanted before.
Junior Thomas Jerrom said, “This is the year that we transform from a simple team that everyone looks down on to the team.”
At the end of the season, the conference gives out awards to certain playeres. A senior this year, Stephen Valdez, from Amarillo, Texas, received a big honor last season at Valley. Valdez received the Libero of the Year award. This award is given out to only one person who is deemed as the team’s “libero.” Valdez was happy with his accomplishments. “I was very honored and proud of myself that I could achieve this kind of award. I wasn’t expecting to win this, so when I did I was excited. With this being my last season in college, I hope I can raise to the expectations and receive it again,” he said.
With it all said and done, the men are ready for this season to begin. With all the hard work and dedication, they are ready to show the other teams what the Missouri Valley Vikings have to offer in the coming years.